SWOT analysis is a strategic planning technique used to help a person or organization identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business competition or project planning. Is an incredibly simple tool to help organization develop business strategy?

The name is an acronym for the four parameters the technique examines:

SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

  • Strengths: characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others.
  • Weaknesses: characteristics of the business that place the business or project at a disadvantage relative to others.
  • Opportunities: elements in the environment that the business or project could exploit to its advantage.
  • Threats: elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the business or project.

Created in the mid-20th century by Albert Humphrey, a business consultant, SWOT analysis is one of the most used self-improvement methods in the business world nowadays. SWOT analysis aims to identify the key internal and external factors seen as important to achieving an objective. SWOT analysis groups key pieces of information into two main categories:

Internal factors — the strengths and weaknesses internal to the organization

External factors — the opportunities and threats presented by the environment external to the organization

The degree to which the internal environment of the firm matches with the external environment is expressed by the concept of strategic fit. Identification of SWOTs is important because they can inform later steps in planning to achieve the objective. First, decision-makers should consider whether the objective is attainable, given the SWOTs. If the objective is not attainable, they must select a different objective and repeat the process.

SWOT analysis examples to download, print or modify online from www.creately.com

There are many more SWOT analysis templates ready to use.

SWOT analysis can be used effectively to build organizational strategy. Typically, it is used in a strategic planning process to effectively evaluate where the company stands before moving forward with an opportunity or managing a limitation.

How TO DO a SWOT Analysis?

To help you to carry out your analysis:

  1. Decide who should be involved
  2. Designate a Facilitator
  3. Download/print off/draw template – (using the popular 2×2 matrix)
  4. Brainstorm – one of the best ways to do this is to have a flipchart and write down everyone’s responses there.
  5. Write down answers to the following questions
  6. Remove Duplicate – after this process, the main ideas and points should be the only ones still on the flipchart.
  7. Clarify and Identify
  8. Assign Next Steps

Ideas frequent SWOT analysis questions regarding/ questions are asked to identify/ questions that one must ask to find:

  • Strength
  • Weaknesses,
  • Opportunities,
  • Threats

Strengths

  • What advantages does your organization have?
  • What do you do better than anyone else?
  • What is the unique thing about your company?
  • What unique or lowest-cost resources can you draw upon that others can’t?
  • What do people in your market see as your strengths?
  • What are your assets?
  • Which one of those assets is the strongest?
  • Do you have a strong customer base?
  • How skilled are your co-workers?
  • What are the things that other people say you do well?
  • Do you have experience in this task (mission)?
  • What are the advantages you have over your rivals?

Weaknesses

  • What could you improve?
  • What are people in your market likely to see as weaknesses?
  • What are the things you need to avoid?
  • What areas do your competitors have an advantage on?
  • Are you lacking in knowledge?
  • Are your employees not skilled enough?
  • Do you have enough investment to start such a project?
  • Is your customer base too low?
  • Are you making enough profit?
  • Is your competitor running miles ahead of you?

Opportunities

  • What good opportunities can you spot?
  • What interesting trends are you aware of?
  • What external changes will bring your opportunities?
  • What are the current ongoing trends?
  • Will these trends affect you in a positive manner?
  • Can you take advantage of the local market?
  • What is the market missing?
  • Can you provide that missing link for the consumers?
  • Is your rival company failing to satisfy their customer base?
  • Is your brand name helping you to get finance easier?

Threats

  • What obstacles do you face?
  • What are the obstacles you are facing in the current mission?
  • What are your competitors doing?
  • Are quality standards or specifications for your job, products or services changing?
  • Is changing technology threatening your position?
  • Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your business?
  • What are the negative aspects in the current market?
  • Are there potential competitors who can give you a competition in the future?
  • Are your key staff members satisfied with their wages and other benefits?
  • Do you see them being poached by your rivals?
  • Are the government regulations going to affect you?
  • Will political instability hurt you?

For a SWOT analysis to be effective participants need to be deeply involved. This isn’t a task that can be delegated to others. Select people who can represent different aspects of organization. Sources

Wikipedia (2019) SWOT analysis. Available from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWOT_analysis

Mind Tools, SWOT Analysis (2019) Available from:  www.mindtools.com/rs/SWOT

PESTLEAnalysis.com. (2019). Using SWOT in Business Analysis. [Online]. Available from:

http://pestleanalysis.com/swot-business-analysis/